Tightening its noose in the Patiala scam in which public land worth Rs 250 crore was marked as private to facilitate its illegitimate sale, the Punjab and Haryana high court on Friday denied pre-arrest bail to suspended IAS officer and former Patiala deputy commissioner (DC) Vikas Garg, as well as to the land's 'purchasers' Yashpal Aggarwal and Davinder Singh Sandhu.
However, the court of justice Paramjeet Singh allowed interim bail to suspended naib tehsildar Gurinder Singh Walia, observing that he had acted only on the directions issued by the then DC. The court did, however, direct Walia to cooperate during the investigations. The detailed judgment of the high court is yet to come. The verdict on Garg's bail plea had already been reserved on December 10, while the others' petitions were heard on Friday.
Suspended kanungo and patwari, Pritpal Singh and Suresh Kumar, respectively, had already been granted interim bail by the court.
Garg was allegedly instrumental in marking the government's 6,000 sq yards situated on GPO Road, Patiala, as private property to allow its further sale last year. A report by the then divisional court SR Ladhar had indicted him for execution of the land sale deed of the plot worth Rs 250 crore for just Rs 6.3 crore. The matter is being heard in the Patiala trial court, which had also dismissed by Garg's bail plea on November 23.
Garg, who had been suspended along with five revenue officials on May 8, submitted in his petition before the high court that he had no role to play in registration of two sale deeds for the land on October 14 last year, and that he had been falsely implicated. He denied the allegation that he had given verbal instructions for the land registration.
Chief minister Parkash Singh Badal had ordered a vigilance bureau (VB) probe in the case and finally the VB had on November 9 registered a case against Garg and nine others on charges of forgery, conspiracy and corruption. The other accused include suspended district revenue officer Rajbir Singh, Walia, Pritpal Singh and Suresh Kumar. The private individuals booked include Davinder Sandhu and Yashpal Aggarwal, besides NP Singh, Jaswant Singh and Ravdeep Singh.